585 BC – The first known prediction of a solar eclipse was made in Greece.
1085 – Alfonso VI took Toledo, Spain from the Moslems.
1787 – The Constitutional convention opened in Philadelphia with George Washington presiding.
1810 – Argentina declared independence from Napoleonic Spain.
1844 – The gasoline engine was patented by Stuart Perry.
1895 – Oscar Wilde, a playwright, poet and novelist, was convicted of a morals charge and sentenced to prison in London.
1895 – James P. Lee first published “Gold in America — A Practical Manual.”
1911 – President of Mexico, Porfolio Diaz, resigned his office.
1925 – John Scopes was indicted for teaching the Darwinian theory in school.
1927 – Ford Motor Company announced that the Model A would replace the Model T.
1927 – The “Movietone News” was shown for the first time at the Sam Harris Theatre in New York City.
1935 – Babe Ruth hit his final homerun, his 714th, and set a record that would stand for 39 years.
1935 – Jesse Owens tied the world record for the 100-yard dash. He ran it in 9.4 seconds. He also broke three other world track records.
1946 – Jordan gained independence from Britain.
1953 – In Nevada, the first atomic cannon was fired.
1961 – America was asked by U.S. President Kennedy to work toward putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade.
1963 – The Organization of African Unity was founded, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
1968 – The Gateway Arch, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, MO, was dedicated.
1970 – Boeing Computer Services was founded.
1977 – “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope” opened and became the largest grossing film to date.
Today in Star Wars History
1977 – An opinion piece by Vietnam verteran Jan Scruggs appeared in “The Washington Post.” The article called for a national memorial to “remind an ungrateful nation of what it has done to its sons” that had served in the Vietnam War.
1979 – An American Airlines DC-10 crashed during takeoff at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. 275 people were killed.
1981 – Daredevil Daniel Goodwin scaled Chicago’s Sears Tower, while wearing a “Spiderman” costume, in 7 1/2 hours.
1983 – “The Return of the Jedi” opened nationwide. It set a new record in opening day box office sales. The gross was $6,219,629.
1985 – Bangladesh was hit with a hurricane and tidal wave that killed more than 11,000 people.
1986 – Approximately 7 million Americans participated in “Hands Across America.”
1989 – The Calgary Flames won their first NHL Stanley Cup by defeating the Montreal Canadiens.
1992 – Jay Leno debuted as the new permanent host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.”
1996 – In Nimes, France, Christina Sanchez became the first woman to achieve the rank of matadore in Europe.
1997 – In Sierra Leone a military coup overthrew the popularly elected President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah. He was replaced with Major Johnny Paul Koromah.
1997 – Poland adopted a constitution that removed all traces of communism.
1999 – A report by the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on U.S. National Security and Military/Commercial Concerns with the People’s Republic of China concluded that China had “stolen design information on the U.S. most-advanced thermonuclear weapons” and that China’s penetration of U.S. weapons laboratories “spans at least the past several decades and almost certainly continues today.”
2000 – The Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc. signed a long-term deal that ended a dispute over the airing policies of Time Warner. Time Warner had blacked out Disney programs for a 39 hour period the previous month due to the lack of an agreement.
2001 – Erik Weihenmayer, 32, of Golden, CO, became the first blind climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
2001 – Sherman Bull, 64, of New Canaan, CT, became the oldest climber to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
2006 – In Houston, former Enron Corp. chiefs Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Skillinng were convicted of conspiracy and fraud for the downfall of Enron.
2008 – NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander landed in the arctic plains of Mars.
2009 – North Korea announced that it had conducted a second successful nuclear test in the province of North Hamgyong. The United Nations Security Council condemned the reported test.